Smooth Ride

Oct 29, 2007 (LBO) – Chevron Lubricants Lanka said net profit for the September quarter shot up 78 percent to 325 million rupees from the same quarter a year ago. The firm, the Sri Lankan unit of the Chevron Texaco oil multinational, said sales were up eight percent to 2.1 billion rupees.

"The top line growth came mainly from a change in the sales mix – we sold more premium brands - and also because of the price increase in June," Anura Perera Chevron Lubricants Lanka's head of finance told LBO.

"The bottom line went up because we curtailed most expenses as well as from a brief respite on raw material prices as well."

The company draws "negotiating strength" from being a unit of a multinational, when raw materials, although sourced from other suppliers, are negotiated for the whole region, he said.

Channa Amaratunga, Chief Investment Officer of Boston Capital, a boutique investment house, said the Chevron Lubricants Lanka September performance appeared to be its best ever quarterly profit, in the past 10 years.

"Gross profit has shown a sharp improvement with margins up to 30.4 percent – the highest for gross profit margins for the

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